Me

Why I Fast for 16 Hours Per Day

16-hour-fast

Ok, that title is probably a little attention grabbing/controversial… but fasting for 16 hours per day is technically what I’ve been doing for the last few weeks.

It started when I listened to this podcast a few weeks ago and thought, “hey, I could try that!”

The basic premise of Melissa McAllister’s 8 Hour Abs Diet is that you only eat during an 8-hour window in the day. So for Melissa, that’s from 11am to 7pm. After 7pm, she doesn’t eat any more – and when she gets up in the morning, she doesn’t have any calories until 11am.

Does that mean you skip breakfast? No, it means you have breakfast at 11, then lunch around 3ish and dinner around 6ish – or a variation thereof. For someone who generally eats pretty healthily any way, restricting your eating to an 8-hour window doesn’t lower your calorie intake; it just means you only eat until 7pm, and then you stop.

I am one of those people who can happily munch my way through the kitchen over the course of the evening.  Until I started this, if there was chocolate or cake anywhere in the house, it would generally be gone before I went to bed. I often went to bed feeling over-full and uncomfortable. So for me, to stop eating at 7pm does dramatically reduce my calorie intake.

More important than calorie intake for me though, is the way I feel from doing this. I sleep a lot better, because my stomach is not busy trying to digest all the food I’ve eaten during the evening. I don’t feel starving hungry when I wake up, and I don’t feel like I need to eat before or after I work out at 6am. I feel good! When I wake up in the morning my stomach feels flat and I tend not to over-eat through the day now.

I think actually, doing this has improved my eating habits too. Because I know I need to stop eating by 7pm, and I don’t want to be starving by 9pm, I know I need to eat a proper meal around 6:30. So whereas before I would just eat whatever junk I fancied through the day and evening, now I avoid most of the junk because I don’t want to not be hungry at 6:30, when I know I need to eat a decent meal. Does that make sense?

In Melissa’s book, she recommends you gradually build up to doing this, by first only eating 10 hours per day, then 9 and then 8 – but for me I honestly didn’t find it so much of a wrench to cut right back from day 1. The only difference was that I had grown used to drinking my coffee with cream in the mornings. On the first day I had a black coffee at “breakfast time” and actually, black coffee with no sugar is not so bad!

This is how my foodie day looks these days:

7am: black coffee

11am: smoothie with protein powder and maca powder

2/3pm: lunch of some description

5pm: a little snack with S as she eats her tea

6:30pm: dinner – usually steak and salad with chia seeds

 

As a rule, I don’t feel hungry when I wake up in the morning and it’s not a struggle to wait until 11am for some food. I’m not great with willpower so honestly, if it was a struggle to wait until 11 it’s highly unlikely I would have stuck to this.

For me, this approach to eating works really well in terms of avoiding over eating, and avoiding just generally grazing my way through my evenings. I’ve tried so many different “healthy eating” plans and as a general rule I’ve stuck to them for a few days before just going mad and going on a massive binge and ricocheting back to eating habits twice as bad as they were before.

Something as simple as saying, “right, I’m not eating after 7pm” – without restricting what I can eat within that window – has made a massive difference to the way I feel and my diet as a whole. In fact, I find now that if I decide to move my 8 hour window along so that I can eat up until 8pm, I feel bloated and sluggish that night and often the next day too!

 

Have you tried the 8 Hour Abs Diet or another form of intermitent fasting? I’d love to know how you get on with it!

 

Vicky is a single mother, a blogger, a podcaster and a social media trainer. You can find her blogging, business and social media tips at VickyCharles.com.

5 Comments
  • Karen

      REPLY

    I find that I manage my weight the best when I practice intermittent fasting about 4-5 days per week. I am a nighttime binge snacker, so when I remove that from the equation the results are immediate. It sounds like we are alike in that respect. Best of luck to you as you move forward! Karen recently posted...The Soundtrack of MemoriesMy Profile

    1. Vicky Charles

        REPLY

      Thanks Karen! I think it's the evening binges that do the damage!

  • Yet Another Blogging Mummy!!!

      REPLY

    I don't have a weight issue but I am terrible about snacking in the evening especially immediately before bedtime. Think this approach might suit me #archiveday Yet Another Blogging Mummy!!! recently posted...Shoutykid3 – book review and giveawayMy Profile

    1. Vicky Charles

        REPLY

      Oh yes, I used to be terrible right before bed time, as if I needed to finish whatever was in the cupboard before I went to bed! I sleep so much better now though, I suppose because my body is not busy digesting a stomach full of food!

  • carol hedges

      REPLY

    Technically, this snit fasting. Fasting is doing without any food for a 24hr or longer period (Water not included) . It's something practiced by most major religions. Jews fast on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement,to remember their sins. Christians fast as a sign of commitment o a prayer request. What you're doing is, though, usefully making you think about the role food plays, so that's prob helpful. Try a 24 hour couplet fast sometime... it does sharpen your brain wonderfully. carol hedges recently posted...Talk the Talk (Adventures of L-Plate Gran)My Profile

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